Terbo Ted “11/11/11 Spiral” Artist Statement
Mixed Media on birch plywood, six panels, 192”x96” total.
Highly Ritualized Mark Making:
At 11:11am on 11/11/11 I made my first marks on a series of six birch plywood panels that are now called “11/11/11 Spiral”. Actual work on this piece lasted seven days at Dimension 7, 150 Folsom, San Francisco, and was highly documented in photos and video. Five pounds of glitter were used on the surface of this piece, all of it applied by hand, brushed a half dozen layers deep, suspended in acrylic. The piece is intended to survive as functional art and can work as a single, flat wall installation, or as a series of three hinged, free-standing room dividers, each 64”x96”.
There is no formal dogma or numerological meaning to this work, which is an extension of my 2011 op art series. I always insist that meaning of any art is up to the eye of the beholder. I certainly care as to how well the piece will age, and what it feels like viscerally. But those are subjective unknowns, fantasy.
While working on this piece, I couldn’t help but think and rethink of large format pieces I’ve seen by two contemporary artists I admire, specifically Alex Grey and Rex Ray. Somehow this work ties into the realms those two gentlemen walk in. Grey’s work is far more graphically psychedelic than mine, but there is a shared hyperdimensional consciousness in our works. Ray’s works are more decoratively ornamental than mine, although I can see how comparisons could be made between this work and his, especially with the flowing, curvy shapes.
My late father was a graphic designer who owned a small advertising agency here in the Bay Area, and in my childhood during the 1970s, our home and his offices were always adorned with at least one wall of what he called ‘Super Graphics’, usually wall sized circular or wobbly shapes he meticulously painted in variously bold or vivid colors. This work reminds me of those roots. My father never considered himself an artist, but he certainly was, and had a fine art collection which I have inherited much of. I really wish that his murals and accent wall panels had survived to this day, but they are all lost. While this work is much more elaborate than his pieces, the wish for the panels to survive informed this creative process; This work is made to time travel past my decades here on earth.
Working on this piece at Dimension 7 was interesting, inspiring, challenging and problematic, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to transpire any other way. I share a long timeline with this space, and this work ties strongly into a long body of work stretching back fifteen years, both by myself and the associated artists who have done work here. Normally, I would want to work on a piece this size in my large West Oakland studio, where I have tremendous natural light and four story high ceilings. At D7, the space is darker, colder and just blocks from the Bay. That this work was created in November and was bookended by rain caused lots of problems for me as I worked. Drying times are a huge consideration in my process, and I work mostly with water-based materials. When I work at my home studio, it’s easy to take a break to wait an hour or two or three for a layer to cure or dry. With this project, things were not drying as fast as I’d like in the dank conditions, even with work lights and space heaters blazing away at the panels. Further complications were caused by this location being so close to the heart of the financial district, where parking can be a total nightmare, if not simply expensive. The preparations for the opening at Dimension 7 lasted all week while I worked, and often this would interfere with my process; for example, a band soundchecking, or video or light show artists needing to cut the house lights to work on their installations would often throw me off of my schedule, although I was always able to recover. The people here are all amazing in various ways, so the inspiration from watching other artists and technicians- whether they were writing code, playing music, generating video and so on- far outweighed any delays it caused to my work. And I take great delight in that my work was inspirational to the other artists here. This community/collaborative magic has always been a key component of the D7 immersive environments.
This work is represented by Arttitud, 111 Potrero, San Francisco, www.arttitud.com, 415.272.5588. All enquires about the purchase of this piece should be sent to Arttitud.